Courtroom Atrocities/Constitutional Crises
Courtroom Atrocities/Constitutional Crises
Today Scott Peterson was convicted of the first-degree murder of his former wife, Lacy, and of the second-degree murder of their unborn child, Conner. I was surprised as I read the news release on Microsoft® Network’s home page link, for but a day earlier it appeared that there would be a hung jury. This article is my attempt to put this result and a few other legal system anomalies into a useful perspective. Let’s have a go at it.
Basically the judge, one Alfred A. Delucchi, decided to dismiss two jurors who would have acquitted Scott Peterson, and in the process create a hung jury, and the judge replaced those jurors with two alternates who found it easy to convict Peterson. One of the dismissed jurors was a lawyer with a medical degree. The judge’s reasons for dismissing that juror were not disclosed. That really inspires my confidence, for the best-educated intellectual person on the jury was dismissed with no explanation! The other juror was an ordinary citizen who was removed because she ostensibly did her own research into the case evidence instead of strictly limiting her knowledge to testimony and other evidence as presented in the courtroom. And attempting to get better information is a problem? Do you believe that such evidence as is presented to a jury is complete?
I want you to understand that, at a personal level, I believe Scott Peterson was/is guilty as hell. I have no pity for him whatsoever. Going back a few years, I also believed that O. J. Simpson was guilty as hell. In that circumstance an entire jury decided to acquit him because of obvious police prejudice/unacceptable police behavior in conducting an investigation. Of course, an acquittal for the criminal charges was not the end of the story for O.J. A wrongful death civil suit was filed and won by the plaintiffs, costing O.J. many millions of dollars.
So, if I believe both men to be guilty of murder in the first degree, then why am I bothering to write an article? Has not true justice prevailed regarding Scott Peterson, regardless of how the result was obtained? Did not O.J. still actually get away with first-degree murder, for which he should have been executed according to the law? Exactly what is it that is bothering me about the Scott Peterson trial and it’s result?
First, I think the judge was so prejudicial in his dismissal of the two dissenting jurors that he has violated the most fundamental part of the jury system. Both sides in any trial put everything on the line by going before a jury, and our law clearly states that a unanimous opinion is required to convict a defendant in a criminal trial. Tampering with the jury, no matter what the source, is a fundamental violation of law, and extreme disrespect for the principle of trial by jury. All parties accepted all the jurors from pretrial activities all the way through five and one half months of trial and three days of jury deliberation. Judge Delucchi’s poor judgment will be the grounds for a successful appeal for a retrial.
Scott Peterson deserves life in prison. The death sentence is stupid as it lets any murderer off relatively quickly and painlessly. But Delucchi should have respected the jury’s right to return with no verdict, causing a mistrial. Yes, a retrial would have been done anyway, but now it can easily be shown at a retrial that Peterson received negative prejudicial treatment in his first trial, which bodes poorly for the prosecution. Worse, any jury will now question the value and relevance of all the time they invest during any trial and deliberation period.
Whether or not other judges have done as Delucchi in other trials, this high profile trial really shouts the lie about the ultimate power of a jury to determine the fate of a defendant. Instead, it reads like this: You didn’t give us the verdict we wanted so we will sidestep you as necessary. That means the jury system is allowed to operate only when it has a unanimous decision and then reliably only when it favors the prosecution.
I am quite certain that Judge Ito in the O.J. Simpson trial wanted very badly to set aside the jury’s verdict. He did not do so because Simpson was Black and the trial was tainted with racial prejudice. He allowed a murderer to go free so as not to precipitate major racial violence across the USA. This means expediency is the rule of law, not what is recorded in useless tomes.
I am horrified when I think about how many juries have convicted innocent people of murder and of rape, only to be found out later. DNA testing has shown how pathetic and cruel we are to ordinary citizens. We have learned that eyewitness accounts of crimes are unbelievably unreliable. We have learned that essential evidence is denied at times to either defense or prosecution, either in the discovery process or later by being excluded from use at the trial.
If, by his actions, Judge Delucchi has shown his lack of faith in the jury system then perhaps all of us need to reread that part of my book, Destiny, that forcefully undermines, derides and scoffs at anyone who supports our courts, juries, etc. Our legal system is pathetically outdated and expediently prejudicial at a time in history when we have far superior means to determine guilt or innocence. I am talking about drug-assisted lie detector tests.
I have no respect whatsoever for our courts or legislatures or prosecutorial or defense lawyers. The entire system is disease ridden and a mockery of any sense of right and wrong. Due Process simply means that there is an organized procedure for putting away someone the state does not like. This reality strongly supports the behaviors of those who operate outside the law, for there is nothing to respect within the practice of the law. We have a constitutional crisis regarding "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," and no one in power will admit it publicly or act upon it to fix it.